Naming Cook's Passage (2011)*

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John Webb: Naming Cook's Passage (2011)

Naming Cook's Passage (2011)
The Captain Cook Trio
1.44 x 1.06m

Image details:

John Webb: Naming Cook's Passage (2011) Detail 1

John Webb: Naming Cook's Passage (2011) Detail 2

John Webb: Naming Cook's Passage (2011) Detail 3
Naming Cook's Passage
The Captain Cook Trio
(Detail 1) 
Naming Cook's Passage
The Captain Cook Trio
(Detail 2) 
Naming Cook's Passage
The Captain Cook Trio
(Detail 3)  


The work:

I saw a TV show about the amazing voyages James Cook made. A replica of his boat the Endeavour is moored at Sydney and I had a close look at it. From this the trio of Captain Cook works evolved.

Australian context

The story of Cook's first voyage around the world - from his own journal - can be read online (courtesy of Chapter 8 addresses the voyage around the east coast of Australia, including the first landfall (29 April 1770), the grounding of the Endeavour on a reef (10 June 1770), and the naming of Cook's passage (14 August 1770 ) after sighting it from the top of Lizard Island. A satellite picture of Cook's passage can be seen here.

The 'naming' entry reads:

"The passage or channel we now came out by, which I have named, lies in the Latitude of 14 degrees 32 minutes South; it may always be found and known by the 3 high Islands within it, which I have called the Islands of Direction, because by their means a safe passage may be found even by strangers in within the Main reef, and quite into the Main. Lizard Island, which is the Northermost and Largest of the 3."

[A facsimile of a tiny fragment of Cook's handwriting (with "have" on it) can be seen in the lower part of this work.]

Cook's Passage is in the region of one of the world's great wonders - the Great Barrier Reef. The unique qualities of the reef were recognised in 1981 when it was inscribed on the World Heritage List. Tragically, large portions of the reef are now bleaching and dying, and the fauna and flora that inhabit the reefs will follow suit. A 2014 outlook report about the state of the reef is still a WIP, but the 2009 Report is available online. You can also read and comment online on the government's 2014 Reef Trust discussion paper.

The Great Barrier Reef can be seen in all its colourful beauty on the BBC (2012) documentary Great Barrier Reef - Nature's Miracle (available at YouTube).


Red Gorgonian coral

Starfish on coral, Great Barrier Reef

 Red Gorgonian coral
Image: esormikim
 Starfish on coral at Great Barrier Reef
Image: Richard Ling at Wikipedia